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Smoking Ups Colon Cancer Risk
Date:12/16/2008

d risk, they found that smoking was associated with an 18 percent rise in the odds of getting colorectal cancer.

And, Botteri added, "There was an increase in risk with increasing number of cigarettes per day and pack-years -- the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day multiplied by years of consumption."

The increased risk began after about 10 years of smoking and increased until it reached statistical significance after 30 years.

"That doesn't mean that there is no increased risk for people who smoked less than 30 years," noted Botteri, "It just means that there is strong evidence that exposure of 30 years or more increases the risk of colorectal cancer."

The researchers also found that smoking increased the risk of death from colorectal cancer by 25 percent.

Dr. Michael Thun, vice president emeritus of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society, said the study will be of most interest to researchers that study colon cancer, and he doesn't believe the findings will change screening recommendations.

Another message remains the same, he added: "With or without a relationship to colorectal cancer, the message is to avoid all forms of tobacco."

Botteri, however, believes that doctors should be "more vigilant" about making sure that smokers are compliant with current screening recommendations, and that perhaps, the initial screening age should be lowered for smokers.

More information

Learn more about the risk factors for colorectal cancer from the American Cancer Society.



SOURCES: Edoardo Botteri, M.Sc., biostatistician, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy; Michael Thun, M.D., vice president emeritus, epidemiology and surveillance research, American
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